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The Joy of Judgment
by Dan Kidd
Today's passage is a prophetic poem from Isaiah. This is one of numerous prophecies about the long awaited anointed one: King Jesus. The Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding would rest over Jesus. And then Isaiah speaks of Jesus and the Day of the Lord, when Jesus will return to the earth and, sitting on his throne, judge the whole earth--the living and the dead--in order to make all things right again.
For many, the notion of the day of Jesus' judgment may feel unnerving, even worrisome. We might worry that this judgment will not be entirely fair. We look at the world around us and we see what the author of Ecclesiastes muses; that the wicked all too often prosper and the righteous regularly suffer and all of that seems meaningless. Or perhaps we worry for ourselves what a truly righteous King would determine is just when our whole lives are laid out before us--everything we hid, every sin we participated in.
Most of us want justice in our lives, at least, when it pertains to the sins of others. When the wicked prosper we are somberly reminded that the gospel of God's justice is an anthem of protest. When the fissures in the foundations of our common humanity crack open we long for reconciliation. When the innocent are railroaded and the guilty are unthwarted, we join the prophets in their cries for justice to roll like a river.
Isaiah can proclaim with great hope and expectation the day of Jesus' righteous judgment because he trusts in the goodness, the wisdom, and the way of the Lord. Isaiah knows that the wicked will not prosper forever and the needy will not suffer indefinitely. Isaiah sees knows that the Lord's justice blesses and heals the poor. Christ's judgment sees through the façades of perfectionism and ego, and he won't be wooed by eloquent posturing. But the result is a return to the profound peace he designed at earth's creation: lambs and lions, wolves and goats, and calves, and yearling, and bears will all live in harmonic peace with one another. The child will no longer fear the viper's bite. As inconceivable as this is, that kind of peace of the consequence of King Jesus' judgment. On that day, the entire world will know the Lord, and all will be entirely well again.
Christians, take heart! We can join now in the great expectations of the Day of the Lord because we can trust--wholeheartedly--that what God has in store will be perfect.
Because of the wonderful news about Christ the judge we can pray: Lord Jesus, we are so grateful that you have designed our world and humanity with a purpose. We delight in your goodness, and in our suffering, we long for the day when you make all things right again. Remove us from the thrones of judgment, and teach us to trust you. Train our eyes to see your Kingdom work around us, the spendidness of creation and all of the redemption stories you are authoring. Have mercy on us and give us mercy for one another. Amen